Wikipedia 15/15 years

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We're collecting 15 of our favorite moments and things that have happened since 2001 to share with the whole world on our new annual report. Please help by making corrections and comments, adding new ones, or just +1 your favorites. (You might have noticed that there are already more than 15.)

15 amazing things since the idea of Wikipedia was launched to the world on January 15, 2001[edit]

January 15 is known to Wikipedians as Wikipedia day.

Before 2001, an encyclopedia could cost thousands of dollars, trees, water and ink, and let’s face it, was really really hard to carry around.

Today we can reach millions of referenced articles, photos, illustrations, sources, and word definitions from anywhere we can reach the internet. And the volunteers who have been creating this amazing work for 15 years don’t charge anything for it. They want to share all knowledge with every person. Many of us have this opportunity right in our pockets.

  1. Millions of people have gathered all this knowledge by working together from everywhere around the world. Ward Cunningham designed the wiki, the first platform that allowed many people to work on a document at the same time. He named it wiki, a Hawaiian word that means, quick. (There is even a wiki-wiki shuttle in Honolulu.)
  2. You know the encyclopedia. Did you also know there is a free dictionary, free textbooks, quotes, learning tools, a travel guide, and more?
  3. Behind the scenes, bots do some of the repetitive jobs so that volunteers don’t have to. There are almost 2,000 bots approved for use on the English Wikipedia alone, and they even have names. PhotoCatBot helps people find articles that need images.
  4. March 17, 2006: The first Wikipedia exhibition opened at the Göttingen University Library, Germany.
  5. Wikipedia became one of the top 10 websites in the world in 2007, and the only non-profit anywhere near the top.
  6. People who work on Wikipedia are called Wikipedians. Building the world’s largest database of information with people from all over can be challenging. Wikipedians write rules, guidelines and essays to help other people understand being a Wikipedian. “No angry mastodons”, an essay, suggests that you shouldn’t edit when you’re hungry or intoxicated.
  7. Two Gambel's Quail (Callipepla gambelii) - Paradise Valley, Arizona, ca 2004.png
    The world’s first photograph, now on Wikimedia Commons, is entirely inscrutable. The first photo to be uploaded to Commons was a pair of quail. Speaking of birds and photos, there is such a thing as pigeon-photography, “A homing pigeon was fitted with an aluminium breast harness to which a lightweight time-delayed miniature camera could be attached.” (There was a stamp for pigeon mail, it’s adorable and shaped like a triangle.)
  8. One of the first articles ever written was for the standard poodle. It simply said, “A dog by which all others are measured.” The English Wikipedia page for poodle is now more than 5,000 words, and includes the many words that people have invented to name poodles crossed with other dog breeds. Labradoodle, Poochon, Cockapoo, Spoodle, Maltipoo, Goldendoodle, Schnoodle, Pekapoos, Cavapoo, and Bernedoodle.
  9. Wikipedia helps keep the internet open and free: In 2012, the Wikipedia communities blacked out the site to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act.
  10. Researchers can predict the spread of illness from data on Wikipedia: “Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory were able to make extremely accurate forecasts about the spread of dengue fever in Brazil and flu in the U.S., Japan, Poland and Thailand by examining three years’ worth of Wikipedia search data.”
  11. It would take more than 21 years for a normal person to read all of English Wikipedia (if you took no breaks and never slept).
  12. The second most edited English Wikipedia article of all time is about pro wrestling.
  13. One of the competition entries for a new Wikivoyage logo was a snake on a magic towel.
  14. Einstein was stopped so much in public, he would reply, "Pardon me, sorry! Always I am mistaken for Professor Einstein." (Rohin Dhar called this the most interesting fact in the world based on data from TIL threads on Reddit.)
  15. A link to British army officer, Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart’s Wikipedia article was retweeted more than 3,500 times.
    Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart VC, KBE, CB, CMG, DSO (5 May 1880 – 5 June 1963) was a British Army officer and recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" in various Commonwealth countries. He served in the Boer War, First World War, and Second World War; was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; survived two plane crashes; tunneled out of a prisoner-of-war camp; and bit off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them. Describing his experiences in the First World War, he wrote, "Frankly I had enjoyed the war."
  16. Wikipedians keep lists of controversies, and hoaxes on Wikipedia. One hoax claimed that Lord Byron kept a crocodile and a honey badger as pets. However, he did take a bear to college when he found that dogs were not allowed.
  17. QRpedia lets people visiting places like museums, historic towns, buildings or zoos access Wikipedia articles in their preferred language on their mobile device, simply by scanning a single graphic icon.
  18. The 'Voice Intro Project' invites people who are the subject of a Wikipedia biography to record a short sample of their speaking voice, so we know what they sound like and how they pronounce their name. They can do so in any language they feel comfortable speaking.
  19. The Wikipedia Monument.
  20. "Wikipedia trifft Altertum" conference 2011 in Göttingen brought together the science and Wikimedia community.
  21. Wikipedia may also refer to: an asteroid.